Friday 15 February 2013

Horsemeat Sweepsteak....

Ok, so that phrase is a little unfortunate, but its Friday after all!

This horsemeat scandal is about to get a lot worse according to various reports for at lunchtime today over 1000 product tests will be revealed and who is to know where horsemeat has entered the food chain.

Let's be clear, I would be delighted to find out for example that kebabs, a rare, drunken 'treat for me were to contain horsemeat - I mean they look like they are made of anything and frequently taste the same, so really to have high quality racing nags in them would be good news.

Surely to, this must be a boost for the pot noodle industry, those famous vegetarian beef and tomato flavour soup-things look wholesome by comparison with many types of fresh meat products now.

So what do we think, who is going to come last and what will be the most shocking revelation? I am going for some frozen mince to be found to be 100% horsemeat at a less than classy supermarket. I think too at least one Waitrose product will be caught out, causing anguish in the home counties.

The only surefire winners are Linda McCartney products.....


roym said...

one thing for sure is that the queue at my local butcher will be even longer tomorrow. good on em

Blue Eyes said...

I know someone who works for a local authority trading standards in their food testing section. He has been a vegetarian since he started working there many years ago.

I think overall this scandal is good news, as roym says, because it makes people think a little more carefully about what they are actually eating.

Anything which undermines confidence in huge anti-competitive corporations and government safety controls has to be a good thing!

Nick Drew said...

BE is right, this is a mighty argument against the EC - although, lying bastards that they are, they will announce that it means they need even greater supra-national powers, arrest warrants etc

I think in his current mode Our Dave can suggest the alternative interpretation quite forcefully

see what an optimist I've become ?

Raedwald said...

let's see - in order of improbability

1. Jamie Oliver admits using Mechanically Recovered Horsemeat filler in his supermarket range

2. Brakes Bros admit their top-selling pub lines are all contaminated

3. Walls admit finding traces of Pork in their sausages

Blue Eyes said...

"BE is right"

I like the new refreshed Nick Drew!! Give some of whatever you've been taking to CU! :-D

idle said...

I suppose you could say that a dead steeplechaser taken away in a horsebox from Becher's Brook has been 'mechanically recovered', so it seems fitting that its tendons, glands and pizzle should also be mechanically recovered in order to fill a bun at Wimpy.

My bet is that Nigella will turn out to have been passing off tabby cat and urban fox as premium mince to her yummy mummy friends on BBC2.

Jan said...

Just heard on radio 4 that Iceland have tested all their meat products and they are all OK. Surprised? I was especially as Waitrose has found some to be contaminated I understand.

Glad I've been veggie for a while now.

CityUnslicker said...

Ha, Waitorse taking a hit, that will annoy Mrs CU.

Iceland print on their labels that everything is well dodgy, so in that sense their barrier is higher becuase they have less to hide perhaps....

The lack of equine themed jokes in the comments is a disappointment

Anonymous said...

apropos of nothing, I thought this might be quite interesting and relevant;

SumoKing said...

I just hope their is neigh dodgy gelatine in my haribo!

SumoKing said...

as opposed to the dodgy their


Bill Quango MP said...

The lack of equine themed jokes in the comments is a disappointment

Awww, stop nagging.

Nick Drew said...

My bet is that Nigella will turn out to have been passing off tabby cat and urban fox as premium mince

there was a recent cartoon strip in the Grauniad that had her serving up roast human, Idle

("I chose a small uncle, because he was easy to overpower, but you could use anyone really")

Blue Eyes said...

"The lack of equine themed jokes in the comments is a disappointment"

Damn, I fell at the first hurdle.

DtP said...

Perhaps Pot Poodles for our Oriental friends - containing no poodles, natch.

Demetrius said...

Are you a neigh sayer?

andrew said...

No, the shock will be that pot noodle dogs not actually contain any noodle at all - certainly does not contain any pot

idle said...

When it was announced today that horse had been sent as mince to 47 schools in the North West, I suggested to my fellow bankers that it would go well in a Lancashire Hot Trot.

Budgie said...

I liked CU's "Waitorse".

Budgie said...

There are four main issues:
1. Getting horse when you thought it was beef;
2. Getting contaminants/chemicals in our food because the system has been by-passed;
3. The EU's paper based control of our food which has cut down practical testing;
4. No accountability because the system is EU based.

Get out of the EU and we get back UK government control of food standards and we can then hold them to account.

Anonymous said...

I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse.....I guess Tesco just listened.

o Anyone want a burger from Tesco? Yay or neigh?

o Not entirely sure how Tesco are going to get over this hurdle.

o Waitress in Tesco asked if I wanted anything on my Burger…… I had a £5 each way bet!

o Had some burgers from Tesco for my tea last night.... I still have a bit between my teeth.

o A woman has been taken into hospital after eating horse meat burgers from Tesco. Her condition is said to be stable.

o Tesco are now testing all their vegetarian burgers for traces of unicorn.

o I've just checked the Tesco burgers in my freezer...AND THEY'RE OFF.

o Tesco now forced to deny presence of zebra in burgers, as shoppers confuse barcodes for serving suggestions.

o Said to the missus, “These Tesco burgers given me terrible trots.

o To beef or not to beef. That is equestrian.

o A cow walks into a bar. Barman says, “Why the long face?”. Cow says “Illegal ingredients, coming over here stealing our jobs!”

o I hear the smaller version of those Tesco burgers make great horse d'oeuvres.

These Tesco burger jokes are going on a bit. Talk about flogging a dead….

And last but not least……

Have you tried Tesco Meat Balls? - They’re the dogs bollocks!!

asquith said...

Salami, followed shortly afterwards by the Waitroses of this world actually openly marketing horse/donkey salami, which will become popular amongst curious-minded customers.

I've got no problem with it, apart from concerns that the horses and donkeys are being badly treated. Bring them within animal welfare laws. And despite some saying this isn't a scandal, it is one because it's a case of mislabelling, which shits on those believing themselves to be buying beef, who have a right to trust what it says on the label.

Those wishing to become vegetarians or to try vegetarian food. Go to a restaurant specialising in foods from those regions of India where most people are vegetarian. Pick up some of the Indian sweets while you're at it, if you can find them. Very buttry and sugary but just gorgeous to taste and worth getting fat for.

Steven_L said...

I'm no europhile, but I think this 'paper based EU system' thing is a bit of a bogie.

Yes, the EU General Food Regulations require that food businesses keep traceability records. But this is no different than HMRC demanding businesses keep financial records.

There is nothing in EU law to prevent member states carrying out market surveillance activities. On the contrary, EU law demands it. In fact, that is how the horse burgers came to light in the first place.

If there is less sampling of processed beef it is because:

1) LA's have cut sampling budgets instead of make more visible / difficult cuts. Cutting sampling programs is a lot easier than sacking useless staff for example.

2) Standards are generally high for processed food from supermarkets, they usually come back spot on, so it is seen as a waste of time and money.

3) It's become trendy is recent years to focus on 'halal' products and see if you can find one with pork in, which is not uncommon but never a 'scandal'.

4) Food enforcement is traditionally split between environmental health (hygiene and microbiological contamination) and trading standards (composition, standards and labelling). EH generally don't give a shit about standards and labelling, only 'public health' and EH tend to wear the trousers. A typical city council will have 6 EH food officers doinmg hygiene inspections for every TS food officer doing composition, standards and labelling. In London and Scotland, EH do all the food and just ignore the standards and labelling side.

Blue Eyes said...

Spot the [Scottish anti-cuts, used to be free-market until he took the public shill] public sector defensive commentator!

Steven_L said...

Spot the commentator that's had a whisky too many tonight!

Those are all geniune reasons why very few supermarket burgers and lasagnes get sent to the public analyst marked 'species, meat content, fat content, additives please' every year.

I can't see where I wrote that there should be more government market surveillance of food standards in the UK.

Someone (or a few people) pulled off a massive scam on some big companies basically. It's done now.

Budgie said...

Steven_L, food safety is an exclusive EU 'competence' defined by Regulation 178/2002. The problem with the EU's paper based system is that it stymies the honest and covers up the corrupt.

I am subject to a paper based (non-food) system in my work, and have literally been told by the customer that adhering to the paper trail is more important than getting the job right.

Timbo614 said...

Double, double toil and trouble;
'Leccy on and meat balls bubble.

Lasagne of value make,
In the packet boil and bake;
Eye of horse, and toe of frog,
Fur of cat, and tongue of dog,
Asda’s fork, and Morrison’s sting,
Lidl's beg, and Tesco's wring
For a charm of horse drawn trouble,
Like a capitalist, boom and bubble

apologies to Will:)

Steven_L said...


Consumer protection is an EU thing, has been since the Treaty of Rome and just abou every consumer protection law has been EU derived since Maastrict. EC Regulation 178/2002 - aka the General Food Regs - replaces a raft of EC food and feed law.

The theory is that as 2 of the 4 pillars of the EU are free movement of goods and services, all regulation applying to goods and services must be harmonised. This process has been ongoing since the 1960's.

I'm surprise that a clever chap like you is buying into this 'EU paper based system' rubbish. Consider:

a) What's wrong with having a statutory obligation for food businesses to be able to show where the food they sell came from? They have to show the taxman where their money came from so they'll have to keep these records anyway.

b) Rather than have statutory obligations on food businesses to sell food as per description, what is the alternative?

c) Are you suggesting all food businesses should have to submit a representative sample of every meat product, from every batch, for independent analysis? What would happen to small businesses?

d) If you are, then should they be allowed to sell it before the results come back? What would happen to non-frozen meat products?

There is no 'EU paper based system' there are statutory obligations to:

1) Register food businesses with the relevant authorities

2) Attach your number to meat products you put in the food chain

3) Maintain records for inspection showing how to food came into your posession and what you did with it

4) Label it as per the statutory requirements prior to sale.

5) Sell food that is not hazardous to health and meets it's description.

6) Comply with the rules of composition, descriptions, additives, toxins etc.

What's the alternative???

Budgie said...

Steven_L, thank you for agreeing that food safety is an EU competence. That was my main point. It is because food safety is EU based that we cannot hold anyone to account when things do go wrong (as they always will).

A paper based system of quality control is fine provided everyone in the chain is diligent, honest and understands what they are doing, and provided the system itself is well designed. And provided sufficient practical checks are still carried out. The more complex the paper system the less likely that any of the foregoing will pertain.

We as a society have become besotted by paper, and whilst we won't accept someone's word we are quite prepared to accept the same sentiment on paper. It is absurd. In my small corner of the world, people who can do the job are in despair because the paper system has become more important than the job itself.

Anonymous said...

The only surefire winners are Linda McCartney products.....

Not if it's true that traces of uniquorn have been found in that range.....

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"The only surefire winners are Linda McCartney products"

And your local small butcher who knows exactly who he buys from.

Ditto the farmers' market.

Never have personal relationships been so important.

Or rather, they always have been but we lost sight of the fact for a while.

Steven_L said...

It is because food safety is EU based that we cannot hold anyone to account when things do go wrong

This is rubbish. Businesses that sell horse labelled as beef can be held to account in the UK courts.

The 1990 Food Safety Act is still law and selling horse as beef is a criminal offence under sections 14 and 15. It looks like the Police are also investigating who made the false representations further up the supply chain under the 2006 Fraud Act.

There is a cabinet minister responsible for food (DEFRA ministers) and as food enforcement is delegated by Parliament to Local Authorities then they, and Pickles' department also hold responsibilities.

Trading offences are strict liability, so even if a supermarket got duped themselves, if they had insufficent precautions in place (in a courts opinion) they can still commit an offence.

The really interesting one is that because of the non-EU 2008 Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act (supported by labour and the tories), no LA can prosecute Tesco without permission from Hertfordshire County Council and Tesco pay HCC under that 'Primary Authority Agreement'.

Budgie said...

Steven_L, since food safety is an EU competence then clearly whatever laws the EU makes (Regulations) or cause the UK local government to make (Directives) are actionable in the courts. This is what being in the EU involves, and this is (EU) law, not accountability.

Precisely because those laws are made in Brussels in the normal EU opaque way we, in the UK, do not know who is responsible for their existence. Thus there is no accountability - we (the UK population) cannot point to the person ultimately responsible - no politician can be sacked - we cannot vote out the government that did it. This is such a basic well known fault in the EU that I am surprised I have to explain it.

Agence communication said...

nice to read that "" This horsemeat scandal is about to get a lot worse according to various reports for at lunchtime today over 1000 product tests will be revealed and who is to know where horsemeat has entered the food chain.

Let's be clear, I would be delighted to find out for example that kebabs, a rare, drunken 'treat for me were to contain horsemeat - I mean they look like they are made of anything and frequently taste the same, so really to have high quality racing nags in them would be good news.""